tv [untitled] June 13, 2012 10:00am-10:30am EDT
it. i think we're not out of the woods. but i think the trajectory is quite exciting, potentially. >> nadwa, can you do everything right and still end up not making the kind of progress you hoped for? when i look at yemen, it's one of the most water-short places on earth. so you could do your governance right, you could do your creation of local links right, you could do your planning, all your relationships. and if it doesn't rain and there's nothing in the aquifer, all of that is not really going to matter that much. >> well, i mean, yes. working in conflict environments, you don't see the change quickly. it's sometimes frustrating. but then when you work with the communities and you work with indigenous structures, you invest in indigenous systems, you also see a lot of opportunities. i mean, yes, countries -- yemen
is one of seven -- i think seven countries that they're water stressed, most water-stressed in the world. we also have resources that are not invested mainly because of problems we have in security. tourism sector. i mean, i'm sure you know yemen is a beautiful country, it's an ancient civilization. we have over 2,000 kilometers of coastlines in addition to islands. and, i mean, i think what we're doing is also is creating some change at the community level, is creating some demand for good governance, demand to make the government accountable to the people. and in my opinion, if anything could end yemen's problem, it would be a legitimate state. a state that's seen by the people as responding to their
needs, that's accountable, that's transparent, that's not corrupt. >> this is a pretty complicated time right now, though, isn't it? i mean, one regime leaves, another one not quite set up, and large parts of the country in the control of anti-state forces. >> well, i mean, i think we're one step forward. we yemenis think that we've elected the right person in place. there are huge challenges, definitely. i mean, it's not going to be an easy transition. we are aware of that. but yemen has been through a lot of similar problems in the past. most of the areas of the country are outside the state control but they are under the control of tribes. and i personally see, from my experience -- and i believe that -- that the tribes can be a force that's very supportive of change.
the tribal indigenous systems have been resolving a lot of conflicts in the country. there are studies that show that 90% of tribal conflict over resources, over land, over development, are prevented by the indigenous system. so i think there are so many resources in yemen that are not realized. and i think once you realize these resources and work with them, rather than bringing, i don't know, ready-made formulas from somewhere else, i think there is a big chance that you can make the change that we desire. we yemenis are very helpful, are very hopeful. we think that we're going to come out of this transition -- come out of this transition and
be, you know, on the way to be a strong country. >> i'm glad you brought up ready-made solutions from somewhere else because on one level, they get a bad rap. they are ready-made because they've worked in other places and they are fast. but they don't necessarily have longitudinal power. because unless you want to stay and do them forever, they end up sort of as institutional orphans in the places where you've been worked. when i've done reporting in the developing world, i've seen that conflict over and over between creating local capacity and perhaps doing something a lot slower than you would want to. and seeing the results a lot more slowly than you would want to. also knowing that unless you do it this way, if you came back in two years, there would be nothing left of your work. i want to hear more from the panel on that. >> let me just -- if you haven't gone back and read this 1950s classic in a while, "the ugly american," i highly recommend it.
it's a.i.d. done upside down. it's everything wrong. and it's exactly your point, ray. and there's a wonderful vignette about creating a local solution to the ability to move water using bicycles and locally manufactured panels to move the water, et cetera, et cetera. so first point is that idea of local solutions. and i think nadwa brings that up. i think we also heard that from our heads of state a little earlier. secondly, i would not underestimate the power of technology, democracy, and the social networks, when you put those three things together. water, for example. george diamatis, the ex-prize
fighter, published a new book called "abundance: why things are not as bad as you think." it's a very counter intuitive book that looks at the impact technology will have on salinization of water. it looks at vertical farming. it looked at the advent of social networks and their impact on moving democracy. there's a lot of good that's happening and i wouldn't underestimate that piece of it. i'd offer those two thoughts. >> i was going to add another point. that is, we don't have a lot of patience as a society. our historical memory is very short. most of the successes that we've cited go back 20 and 30 years. the timeline to implement these changes is not short. but the five-year planning cycles that we have or the budgetary cycles make it seem as though we're not succeeding. so that's the first thing. the second point is metrics. we measure how we do but we don't measure how people on the ground are actually implementing things. i think it's really important. because this is not the one size
fits all. but many people on the ground may feel that they're making progress and we don't necessarily capture that in our reporting back. and i think there are three things we need in the united states to really move forward. one is we certainly need additional capacity to help. the world is going to have more crises, they're not going to get fewer. we also need to be legitimate and that means listening to the people on the ground and their solutions so that when after, if there is a military action, that legitimacy is helped. and we have to be willing to burden share in the sense of letting others, both the private sector, the humanitarian sector, as well as other intergovernmental organizations work with us. i think we've done that pretty well in many theaters but we have to do more. and those things make us successful. and i finally see a lot of them coming together. but patience not only is a virtue but it is something we often lack when we're trying to get things done. >> and i think, look, somebody somewhere concluded that
post-conflict, post-crisis transitions are supposed to last two years. and i don't know who that person was. seriously. i was in rwanda where in '95 and '96, people were already saying, why can't everybody just reconcile and let's get on with it. it was kind of dramatic. but i think there are a couple of other things. development isn't something that doesn't happen unless we're there. people tend to seek solutions to the shortcomings in their lives regardless of whether we show up. and i think one of the changes we've seen, i don't think we can get away with the ready-made one size fits all anymore. i find myself, there are very, very few circumstances, whether it's that you have a government that's putting political skin in the game and has a view and you might shape or influence it. you've got community leaders -- if you look at the changes in implementing agencies and local partners, there are a lot more
local partners. and it's not just because they tend to have a better sense of what they need than someone from the outside, but because there's a demand there. so i think we're seeing a turning of the tide. i think where it looks very different is when you mention things like water. where i think that's the kind of development discussion, whether it's post-crisis or preventing the kind of crises we're going to see out of resource scarcity, where nobody's got a ready-made solution and it's going to take everybody to come together around the table. we spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that yemen has an acute water shortage. that affects not only yemen but as you pointed out so clearly, that's going to affect us in the entire region. >> so let me just jump in there for a second. because, all right, you've made very good presentations for why local ownership and capacity
creation on the ground is important in development. and, you know, i hear that enough to be willing to stipulate that it's true. but if we add on conflict, if we add on humanitarian crises, where you don't have the same sort of timelines available to you, i think one of the most wrenching moments i've had in my life as a reporter was to sit by -- in one of the tent cities inside a tent outside port-au-prince where everyone had fled after the quake and they were by the airport. and there's the airport, 15-foot-high cyclone fences topped with razor wire, and you're sitting in a scooby-doo bedsheet tent with someone, and they can sit in this public park and look across the road and see pallets piled high with water, with food, with pumps, with
cans, with kitchen items. and they say, you know, we could just run across the road and tear that fence down and start giving this out. we've been waiting for days. we've been waiting for weeks to get out of this camp and we really want to. why? because i'm like an american flag to them. it's hard to explain that, oh, hey, i'm a journalist. i'm not supposed to have the answers. they would say, you tell me why we're not getting that stuff. and the answer -- the real answer is, i don't know. but a more thoughtful answer probably wouldn't cut much ice. you don't have that same kind of timeline in conflict, and you don't have it in disaster. >> you also don't have -- in the case of haiti, for example, where you start with a country that didn't have great logistical operational capabilities built in on the ground to begin with. you have a crisis of that magnitude. and i think -- i totally understand the frustration with
the delays. but it took some time to set up the operational system to actually deliver to that many people. now -- >> it won't surprise you to find out that answer didn't get me a lot of -- cut much ice in the tent. >> it doesn't but it gets to another point, which is -- one of the things i think we could do more of, and i think we underestimate, is how much people who are the direct targets or objects of some huge humanitarian crisis can themselves manage a relief operation. i remember i was a reporter once, and being in the refugee camps in eastern sudan where there were probably in excess of 300,000 or 400,000 refugees from ethiopia and eritrea and they sent in all the relief workers and set up clinics. and the refugees went on strike. and they said, we can run our own clinics. we have people who know how to do the basic tests.
we have midwives. we don't need all of you to come in and do it. people were completely flabbergasted. you're supposed to be a dependent, passive, helpless individual, we're supposed to be here to help you. i think figuring out how we can rely more fully on people to organize themselves is one of the most important things i think of an effective humanitarian operation. i think there was some of that in haiti. i'll just tell you, from where i sat, there was no airport one day, then your guys went in and there was an airport the next morning. so, you know. >> but there is a factor that i think we haven't mentioned yet, and that is, the discovery -- although it shouldn't be a discovery -- of the critical role that women in these communities play. and in haiti, where i spent a lot of my time, or even in colombia or in african communities, women organize these tent cities. women are the ones who found -- they didn't break down the fence but they were the ones who organized the food chains.
and i know there are going to be panels later on in this program that focus on the importance of addressing women as entrepreneurs, women as development agents. we can't underestimate in many of these situations the critical role that they've played in ensuring, in the most horrific humanitarian crises, how they become the agents of moving things forward. the timelines are very short, but in fact, you see time and time again, whether it's for security or for development, that the women are out in the front. >> taking that point entirely, if i could add another thought of how you could prepare for this, maybe two thoughts. one is to exercise, one is to practice this kind of thing. and i think we do this a lot in the military. but i think if we could do more exercising and practicing with our partners in advance of crisis, i think that would be helpful. and we have a number of small initiatives we're working in my particular command in this regard. i think exercise, practice, is one thing.
the second thing, ray, is -- and it gets, again, to technology and how technology can help us. it's having a competent crisis center. one that at a.i.d., for example, that can manage this. and our technologies are so vastly better than they were even ten years ago. i don't think we've driven the technology into our crisis management centers. i know we haven't done that fully in the military. we're working hard on it. i'd say those two things, exercises and practice, crisis management centers, that really take advantage of technology, are also ways we can do better to avoid putting you on the spot like that. >> i'm happy to be the american flag in those cases. nadwa, i'm sorry i cut you off. you were about to say? >> well, i was going to follow through what gayle said. with regard to development assistance.
you know, i said this before, it's the most important thing in countries that have conflict is building a legitimate state. and when i say a legitimate state, it doesn't have to be a strong state immediately. legitimate state is a state seen by the people as at least a state that's wanting to address the problems and meet their needs. and so i think one important thing for development assistance and foreign assistance and foreign policy is that they have to be -- to go in line with each other. foreign policy should support development assistance. i'm going to bring the case of yemen as an example. i think foreign policy, particularly counterterrorism efforts in yemen, have to some extent undermined development assistance. and so over ten years, the
counterterrorism assistance to the former regime has helped strengthen the grip of saddat, who's a dictator, over power, over military, over resources, and only made him a stronger dictator. at the same time, usaid continue to do great work in terms of helping yemen improve health, education services, et cetera, et cetera. but no matter how much development work you do, if your government is helping a dictator, it's not going to work. it's going to work probably in immediate term but in the long-term, it's not going to work. and so i think -- and i'm not judging intentions, of course. i'm sure their intentions are good. i think that lessons learned or the only lesson learned or the biggest lesson learned from this is that dictators are not good agents for change or
development or peace. dictators create problems, create worse. so working with them is not a good investment. >> some people wanted to applaud but they were looking around to see who was sitting nearby. that brings us to a terrific juncture. i think we have enough time to hear from everyone on this before we close the program. you know, there's a tremendous amount of value put on collaboration. and there's a tremendous amount of talk about finding partners, body coming in from outside along with you and on the ground, because no one wants to do everything by themselves anymore, and that's great, that makes a lot of sense. but the reasons why people are doing these various things are often very different. and what they want out of the end is very different. some really are doing this to be able to give out bibles. so if they have to give out food first in order for you to be awake to read the bible, cool.
we'll feed you first, then we'll give you the bible. some want to make sure that a place is not going to be a locus of instability and state failure, and otherwise, we're not really that worried about how people are getting by day to day. sure. would we rather have more people read than less? sure. would we rather have fewer people dying of thirst than more, sure. but beyond those very simple metrics, the only reason we're in there is so that the place doesn't become a source of potential problems and further problems down the road. yet here you are, a religious group over here, a secular group over there, a governmental group over here, an international ngo over there, all doing the things you're doing for slightly different reasons, perhaps sharing many goals. but you have to create rough and ready partnerships right there in the heat of battle. is it as easy as i am told that
it is -- i can't believe it, but i'm told that it's actually pretty easy -- are there times where suddenly the tensions between those different agendas become quite apparent and you have to constantly renegotiate the terms of the arrangement and the terms of the relationship? gayle? >> i feel like i should have an answer that says it's really impossible, this is a complex mess. but i actually -- i don't think it is. i think there are three ingredients that have made it less complicated than it may appear on the surface. but i think there are three ingredients that are necessary. one that's been mentioned is transparency. if these programs and interventions and activities of a range of partners aren't transparent, then you get into conflicting intent and you run into a number of problems. the second is data and facts.
it's quite extraordinary and a really good thing. fact in the relief and development spheres have gained increasing currency. so that having data which shows, you made a reference to 90% of internal tensions or conflicts being resolved through indigenous systems. that kind of data is available now so that strength of opinion, while still potent, is not the driving force as much as it once was. i think the third thing, and this is really insurance, is the demand from the bottom. now that can be uneven, because you can have constituents who are on one side or the other. it's been my experience that there's a demand for accountability that's growing, made easier by twitter and everything else. made easier by the fact that there are a lot more people involved in development than used to be that push up against this.
i think the place that i have seen a lot of incredible transformation in this is in global health, where you've got motivations that are multiple. they are motivations that people need to have secure health systems so you can manage biosecurity. there are faith-based perspectives across the spectrum. there are single disease, they're this and that, this and that, it's these things, transparency data and demand, that have transformed that field in such a way that you've got extraordinary constellations of actors working together in the same direction. now, is it quite that neat and tied up in a bow? absolutely not. but it's a lot less difficult than your question i think suggests it might be. that's certainly been my experience. >> i guess i've been in around this type of operation for 35 years. and it is much better than it
was and i think you need only to pick one of many examples, the war in vietnam, and look at the battles between a.i.d. doing cord and the military and the embassy, it was extremely conflictual. i think we could find other examples kind of along the road. whereas today, particularly when i look at the cooperation between rod shaw, secretary clinton, secretary panetta and secretary gates, secretary gates was very much one to be totally supportive. i think there is an instinctive integration of diplomacy and defense that is real and is happening. then thirdly, ray, why it's better is again, technology helps us because that gives us the transparency gayle was talking about and allows us to have liaisons on video teleconference and connecting. in haiti, for example, one of my
favorite pictures is rodshaw, hillary clinton and ken keane, who is the three-star general who was the military guy supporting those and sean penn, talk about the private sector and bringing a different look to the whole thing. but working together, that was real and on the ground and it happened relatively quickly despite the frustrations and the failures and the missteps. i'm with gayle, it's way from perfect but it's also way better than it was. >> and i also think that the world hasn't stood still over these years, that many countries that are not the major players are contributing to development as well. the brits, brazils, turkeys, they're contributing to peace keeping, sending their troops in. there's a multicultural dimension that has our own troops working side by side with others. there's a new language of development these countries are bringing which are we all get
security. we know you have to have that in order to be able to move forward but they're bringing the languages gayle said of health, access to health, access to education, access to legitimate decision making bodies, are extremely important. i remember about 20 years ago, a.i.d. did a study comparing rule of law in different countries to supply versus demand and they couldn't immediately understand why alternative dispute resolution got a consistently high grade for people as opposed to building courthouses or training judges. the answer was clear. it was access to justice. the ability to reserve someone's conflict and walk away without shooting one another was the biggest gift one would give in a community. i think that this is what we have learned and applied. we have made a lot of progress in that sense. we have lots to go but certainly, listening to the demand side is equally important. >> when i was at the central
hospital in port-au-prince, teams were arriving in this wild and very encouraging ad hoc way, jeeps would roll up and nurses and doctors would pour out, trucks would roll up with equipment put on private planes in florida and so on. and there were traffic cops, basically, doctors who sent people where they were needed for two of the most heroic nights that i have ever seen in my life. but even the traffic cops didn't quite know what to do when a huge church of scientology team arrived and he said, well, what do you guys do and there were a large number of people on the grounds who were traumatized by the violence and here are all these people that don't believe in psychiatry, they quickly put their heads together and the
team got sent out to do massages which they did for the next several weeks, but it worked. it worked. instead of saying we don't need you guys here or go home, or we're not sure what to do with you, there was this sort of feeling look, you know, some hands showed up, some people showed up, let's put them to work. i naught, all right, good for you. there was a tent with scientology practitioners giving massages and not giving out psychotropic drugs. we have just about a minute left. is there something that remains unsaid that somebody was dieing to say when someone else was talking? >> at the risk of being sentimental, i was at the meeting on friday with the president of liberia, and i think for all of the cases where we look at these complex environments and humanitarian crises and say it's impossible, the president commented about
the progress we made in nine years. as painful and ugly, it was one of the worst places on earth. ten yiers long time and a lot of blood was spilled and a lot of political and other capital expended. but i think what keeps all of us going is those successes. and so i would just hope to leave us with that thought. it takes patience, it takes time, it takes political leadership. but what we have been able to see in our lifetimes is that it's entirely doable. >> and hope. and hope. >> and love. [ applause ]
taking you live now to the dirksen senate office building for a hearing with defense secretary leon panetta and joint chiefs chair, martin dempsey, on defense department spending for fiscal year 2013. the senate appropriations subcommittee on defense is looking to balance the department's funding while also making cuts to the federal budget. last year as part of a deal to raise the debt limit, lawmakers agreed to $1.2 trillion in across the board spending cuts starting next year. the sequester as it's known would cut $500 billion from the defense budget.